This was one of my favorite weddings from last year and I'm just now getting around to blogging it. It was a collection of some of my favorite people to work with and it was at an amazing venue.
Wedding Coordinator: The amazing Angel Swanson
Florist: Kristin from the Treasured Petal
Cake: Melanie from Sweet and Saucy Shop
Venue: Rancho Las Lomas
Kristin (the bride) is a graphic designer and designed all of the stationary for the wedding. It was amazing. So much thought went into everything. Everything involved in the wedding fit together so perfectly. From the invitations to the color of her shoes, even to the color of the clothes she wore during their engagement shoot! I LOVED this wedding.
I love this shot of Kristin's mom helping her get ready... and if you look closely you can see Jessica Claire in the reflection as well. She's my favorite second shooter. :)
A couple of sweet moments from the first look:
I think parents often get overlooked during the wedding day. I love shooting the father walking his daughter down the aisle. Its always such a great moment, and you can tell how proud Kristin's dad was that day.
I also love shooting the parents during the ceremony. There are always so many great moments.
A few portraits on the amazing grounds at Rancho Las Lomas.
The couple with Angel Swanson, one of my favorite people to work with!
I think burnout is one of the biggest creative obstacles professional photographers have to deal with. We shoot thousands upon thousands of photographs for our clients and when the work is over picking up a camera is the last thing on our minds.
This is something I've definitely dealt with. I love photography and am so happy to be able to make a living doing something I love but after doing something 40,50, or 60 hours a week you need a break. So I gave myself permission to leave my camera at home a few times when heading out somewhere with Cyndie and Makenzie. Then that turned into never taking it out. As a photographer I felt justified. As a dad, I felt terrible, haha.
Then the iPhone came out and since I have my phone with me all the time, I have a camera with me too! The camera on the first iPhone was "good for a cell phone", the second was a bit better but mainly just more pixels. The 3Gs brought selective autofocus and exposure to the party and the iPhone4 is just freaking awesome. I use it ALL THE TIME. I love it. Not only is it super convenient, I actually like the photos and with the iPhone 4 the pictures are big enough to make a decent size print. Also because its a phone you can't really do a ton to the images so there's no real work that has to be done. They look cool and I didn't have to spend all day obsessing over skin tones. Haha.
I've been using an app called Instagram for a couple of months and I love it. Not only is it a really fun way to process your iPhone pictures but its also kind of like Twitter and Facebook. You can follow people's feeds and see when they post new images. You can "like" the images or leave comments. It's really fun.
If you have an iPhone and don't use it already, download it. If you already use it, follow me and I promise to return the favor. :) My username is @michaelnorwood.
Here are some of my instagrams from the past couple of months. I noticed there are a few distinct categories my photos fall into:
FAMILY... and my beautiful basset hounds :)
NEW YORK...we moved here last year and I'm still in awe of this place
FOOD AND DRINK...if you know me at all this isn't surprising
CRAZY/INTERESTING PEOPLE... yes that is NATALIE PORTMAN We sat next to each other last month on a flight, had a nice conversation, then I went into stalker mode and snapped a few pics of her before we got off the plane. She was super nice. :) I saw Santa on the beach in Waikiki last month and the crazy girls on the right were acting out scenes from harry potter while taking pictures of themselves... hence the tripod in the shot. To say it was entertaining would be an understatement. It was hysterical.
ARTSY FARTSY CRAP...
If you follow me on Twitter it will come as no surprise that I'm LOVING the snow here in Manhattan. I really do love it. We've gotten a TON too. In fact this month has gotten more snow than any other month in recorded history! Since December 26th we've gotten about 57 inches! Crazy. I think one of the reasons I love it is that unlike a lot of people I don't have to commute to work. I don't have a car I have to scrape clean every morning. I don't have to shovel steps or a driveway. I just get to look out the window at the beautiful snow. It's totally magical.
This morning we checked in with Makenzie's school and found out that they canceled school today. Makenzie was so excited. I took her up on the roof to look at the city covered in snow.
Here's what we saw.
Happy snow day! :)
You might have seen on here before that I offer private workshops for photographers affectionately known as WOODSHOPS. I don't put on huge group workshops because #1: they're a whole lot of work and #2: if that's what you're wanting there are already tons of them out there. If, however, you (or maybe you and a couple of friends) want to spend a day, afternoon, or lunch together picking my brain, listening to me talk about how I work and shoot, I'll happily oblige you. I usually do one per month.
A few weeks ago I had a WOODSHOP with a photographer from LA named Gary Coelho. We spent the afternoon together talking about how he could improve his photography and at the end of the afternoon we went out for a shoot to give him a chance to put his new knowledge into practice. We had to postpone the workshop a day because of rain so I was scrambling trying to find a couple to model for me. I put out the word on Twitter and within a few minutes my good friends Jake and Jessica Mariano graciously volunteered to be our subjects for the afternoon. We went out into the hills of Ladera Ranch for an engagement style shoot and had a great time trudging around in the mud. We had some beautiful light and got some really wonderful images.
If you're interested in a WOODSHOP check out the information page and shoot me an email.
Here are some favorites from that afternoon:
Here's an engagement shoot from the fall I shot out in Orange County. You can almost bet that you'll have good weather in Southern California but every now and then you get "lucky" and get a beautifully overcast day like this. I just love the tones from this session and can't wait to shoot their wedding in Malibu this summer.
We shot these in downtown Laguna Beach and then drove up to Crystal Cove in Newport.
In the fall I shot Kevin and Danielle's wedding in California. It was held at Rancho Capistrano, a really beautiful property in South Orange County. Like most Southern California days it was pretty much perfect with beautiful light and amazing weather... if you're in to that sort of thing. :) I think my favorite part of the wedding though was seeing how the two families interacted. I've been to a lot of weddings but I'm not sure I've ever seen two more loving families. It was a really great thing to be a part of. Here are a few favorites from the day.
It's been too long. Let's just leave it at that.
This is Kenny and Bri. They were clients when they hired me a year ago but after their engagement shoot, wedding in Anguilla last summer, lots of meals and time hanging out they're now great friends to Cyndie and I.
In November Bri called and told me she wanted to surprise Kenny with a trip to New York. We set the whole thing up and she pulled off a flawless surprise. He had no idea they were coming here until they got to the airport! I love a good surprise. :) They came and stayed with us for a few days and while they were here I shot a day after (5 months after) session for them. This was a lot of fun.
All of this stuff was shot within a couple blocks of our place here in Manhattan.
Here are a few of my favorites.
These are the steps of Liv Tyler's townhouse around the corner from us. I guess it would make sense that she has the best stoop in the neighborhood. Ha. Did anyone see her dad on American Idol? He was actually pretty cool. Not annoying at all like I expected.
I LOVE this image. It has a very old world quality to it that I really like. It was processed with a film grain product that my friend Edmund and I have been working on for a while. I think we're almost done with it. Keep and eye out for it.
We went up to our roof for the final few images. I love it up there. Its such an amazing view of the city. I think I'd go up there a lot more if I didn't have to climb 7 flights of stairs to get up there. Haha.
This incredible Nigerian wedding was held at the Penn Museum in Philadephia on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. It might be the most fun I've ever had at a wedding... well at least one I was shooting, haha. I want to shoot more Nigerian weddings... and more at the Penn Museum. So great.
The bride, Bola, is a wonderful photographer based in Philadelphia. It's always such an honor to be asked to shoot a photographer's wedding... it's also a bit nerve wracking. Haha. But you always know if you're shooting a photographer's wedding that you'll have plenty of time for photos, and more importantly, time in good light! We made the most of our time that day, here are some of my favorites:
The workshops can cover anything you want... shooting, posing/directing clients, processing/photoshop, blogging, pricing, pricing for destination weddings, dealing with clients, wedding day time management... its totally up to you. We can sit and talk for the whole time or we can get outside and put your new knowledge to use in a shoot... again, its up to you.
These sessions will, for the most part, take place in Orange County or New York City but if you're scared of flying or have a group or would just rather me come to you let me know and we can work out the travel.
So this afternoon, Jaclyn and Nate Kaiser, of The Image is Found, both jokingly twittered that they are making a new rule that they'll only travel to places that Jet Blue or Virgin America fly to. This spurred a little Twitter debate between Nate and I about airlines and it got me thinking about why I make the choices I do when I travel.
I'm not sure whether it's apropos or ironic that I watched the George Clooney movie, Up In The Air, on a flight to New York but I sure did identify with Clooney's character and his quest for frequent flyer mile domination, haha. As photographers, we get the opportunity to travel more than the average person. Over the past few years I've traveled a ton and since we moved to Manhattan earlier this year, the past 6 months I've traveled even more than usual. I've found that if you do it right you can both enjoy your travel more and make your travel and destination weddings more profitable. I thought I'd blog about the things I've figured out regarding air travel.
#1 Pick an Airline
There are a bunch of airlines out there and I'm not going to try to say that one is "best" because the "best" airline for you might be different than the best airline for me. The first consideration should be your location. Which airlines have hubs in or near your city. If you're in Dallas, American would be you're best bet. Houston, Continental would be a good choice... etc.
The benefit of choosing an airline with your city as a hub is that you'll have the most direct flights available. This is super important as a frequent traveller. Layovers make your travel days way longer, increase the chance for delays and generally suck. The more planes you take, the more chance there is for a flight to be cancelled/delayed...etc. If you fly direct, there is no connecting flight to miss even if your flight is delayed. Also flights in and out of hubs are, for the most part, cheaper and there are way more available to choose from.
Another consideration when choosing an airline is where they fly. One of the reasons I chose Delta is that when I was choosing an airline is that they were in talks with Northwest to merge and become the largest airline in the world. Either them or their partner airlines fly to more destinations than any other airline in the world. An airline like Virgin America or Jet Blue may meet some of the criteria but they are quite limited in the cities they serve. So if you choose them there's a good chance you'll have to fly other airlines at some point. Pick an airline that will take you pretty much anywhere you want to go and allow you to earn miles on all of your flights, not just on flights to cities they fly to.
#2 Stick with that Airline
Frequent flyer programs benefit "frequent flyers" and you'll never be a "frequent flyer" if you're flying a different airline every trip. All airlines have frequent flyer programs but the benefits vary greatly between airlines. If you fly a budget airline such as Jet Blue or Southwest, basically, the only benefits to frequent flyers is award travel (free flights). With full service airlines you'll still get the award travel but you'll also get a ton of other benefits.
#3 Rack up the miles
Once you reach elite status, usually 25,000 miles in a calendar year, you get all kinds of fringe benefits. Here's a list of a few:
Priority Check In. Frequent flyers always have their own check in line. There's no waiting in a line of a hundred people at the airport anymore to check your bags.
Free checked baggage. With Delta, my guests and I get up to 3 bags a piece at no charge and the weight limit is 70lbs not the usual 50lbs. This alone is worth hundreds if not thousands per year.
Priority Security Screening. At most airports there is a lane for first class or elite travelers. Again, no more waiting behind a hundred people. Security screening now only takes a few minutes.
Priority Boarding. As a photographer this is one of the biggest deals. When I travel with my camera gear, the last thing I want to do is gate check it. I want it with me the whole way. As a frequent flyer with elite status I get to board the plane before the general public, meaning there will never be a time when I get into the plane and the overhead compartments are full.
FIRST CLASS. This is huge when you fly a lot. I've never paid for a first class ticket but I now fly first class almost exclusively... easily 90% of the time. Delta, and most other airlines give free or very low cost upgrades to their frequent flyers. It makes a big difference having the extra legroom but the biggest difference is the "shoulder room". The fact that there are only 2 seats in first class where three fit in coach makes all the difference in the world. There's never a time when I worry about who is going to be sitting next to me in first class, but every time I have to sit coach I dread the waiting game of watching the people file in. I just know when I see the 6'5" 350lb mountain man, he's going to sit right next to me. Also, meals and drinks (even alcohol) are free in first class which is pretty nice.
Priority baggage handling. I think this is one of the coolest things Delta does. Whenever I check a bag a special tag is placed on it and upon arrival my bag will be among the first delivered to baggage claim. No waiting around for 30 minutes as bags trickle on to the carousel.
Bonus Miles. Once you make it to elite status, you get between a 25% and 125% bonus on your travel. Once you get to a certain point miles start adding up like crazy. At the beginning of the year this year it took me 5 round trip flights from LA to NYC to earn the 25000 miles for a free flight. Now it takes only 2.5 round trip flights because I get a 100% bonus on all travel... fly 5000 miles, get 10000 frequent flyer miles.
#4 Don't sweat it if you have to pay a little more to stick with your chosen airline.
If I were to fly American Airlines I'd have to pay $25 each way to check one bag. Sticking with Delta saves me *at least* that much over another airline. If the difference between tickets is even more than that, the fact that all of my miles are with one airline more than makes up for it. The average cost in miles for a free flight is 25,000 miles. If I have 6000 miles with Delta, 8400 with American, 3700 with United...etc, it doesn't matter that I've got 18100 miles in total because they're with 3 different airlines. I'm still 16400 miles from an award ticket. Don't worry about paying a little more for a ticket with your airline, you'll get it back later.
#5 Pack light.
If its possible carry everything you need on. The time you'll save by not checking bags and not having to wait for them at baggage claim is worth way more than having your choice of 14 pairs of shoes and 23 outfits for that week long trip.
There are lots of other tips I've picked up but this should do for now. Maybe this will help you, I sure wish someone had told me all this a few years ago. :)
If you have any tips I'm missing here leave me a message in the comments. I'd love to hear them!
Since posts without pictures are boring, here is an image from a wedding I shot in Anguilla (in the British West Indies in the Caribbean) last month. I'll be blogging the whole wedding this week!